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AFD to Commit Even More Resources to Caribbean Region

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Wednesday, October 09, 2002 - The Government of St. Lucia has welcomed news from the French Development Agency – ‘Agence Francaise De Developpement’(AFD), that it intends to broaden its support to projects being implemented locally. On Tuesday, October 8th 2002 French officials held discussions with top government officials to assess the programme’s performance over the years and to chart a new way forward.

The AFD’s mandate is to support sustainable development in French overseas Departments and in countries belonging to what is called the “Priority Zone of Solidarity”, by financing selected projects under specific conditions. Deputy General Manager of the Agence Francaise De Developpement Jean-Michel Debrat indicated that French authorities were generally pleased with the programme’s performance and would be committing even more resources to the Caribbean region in coming days.

“We are widening the perspective as we are concerned with long term objectives. Today we talk about regional development not only in infrastructure. Perhaps we are going to work together in the area of health notable the environmental situation. We are also interested in any matter that is of common interests of the Caribbean and the French Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe,” said Mr. Debrat. The AFD was allowed to intervene in the OECS in 1984 and has since invested almost 100 million Euros in the sub-region, of which St. Lucia has to date benefited to the tune of over 36 million Euros. Communication and Works Minister Hon Felix Finisterre says a team from the AFD will arrive on island on Monday, October 14 2002 to begin overseeing the latest project being funded by the French agency.

According to Minister Finnisterre, “to get news today from the AFD of the approval of their board of management of 10 million Euros for the construction of 116 kilometres of tertiary roads is very exciting news. We have seen the draft report for the pre feasibility and that had already caused some excitement among my colleagues because it’s going to impact upon every major community in St. Lucia. The reason why this is so important to us is that the appraisals of the roads to be done were done with a view to the social, agricultural and for the first time the heritage or ecotourism potential of those roads.”

Finnisterre notes that efforts are underway in terms of laying down the appropriate mechanisms in order to ensure that the monies form part of the 2003/2004 budgetary cycle. A proposed implementation date has been set for September 2003.


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